Inspection- FOX Hunt
The hounds may be baying and the horses running, but they’re mostly headed away from the real hunt. Normally news services hunt news. Administrations hunt the best way to resolve global and domestic conundrums. Actual foxes hunt safe harbor from baying hounds. But the “hunt” here, however, isn’t FOX hunting “news.” FOX is hunting anything they can say, do, invent out of thin air, encourage, or lie about. The intent to is, as always with FOX, to bag, gut, cook and serve up anyone, or any group, that doesn’t please their Right Wing base: specifically any administration, to that base.
Politically speaking, FOX has every right to honestly… and that is the issue here more than anything… flush their game and pull up their 12 gauges. Unlike my metaphor here, they have a right to go Dick Cheney on anyone who offends their base or says something they don’t like. In hunting that last example may very well be attempted murder. Rhetorical guns are, mostly, protected by free speech. That isn’t “news.” If FOX “news” wishes to become a political action-based TV show, I have no problem with the hunt, as long as they’re willing to be game as well as foul… intentionally using a “u” rather than a “w.”
Yet we have even supposed left of center talking heads standing between the FOX and the hunters.
Some days I wonder just how much BS some liberals will buy, especially loads of bull dung pushed by the Right itself that enables them. Let’s take on the current tiff with FOX. The framing is all wrong, and definitely enables FOX and their sycophants.
As we all know the administration has claimed that FOX is not a news service, and I agree: it’s at best a propaganda network that is anything but “fair and balanced.” More like the rabid right using a Halloween custom called “news” and lying about their true intent. Happy Spook Day, Mr. President!
My reaction is so different when compared to most talking heads on the left…
“What, it took you this long?”
Let’s start by providing the list of right wing talking points I’ve heard even supposed lefties regurgitate…
1. “Just ignore them. You’re making it worse.”
2. “The President has a very powerful position. He shouldn’t delegitimize any news service.”
3. “The best way to deal with bullies is to ignore them.”
4. “We have freedom of the press. The President shouldn’t interfere with it.”
5. “They’re declaring war on a network.”
6. “It’s not smart to go after a popular network.”
7. “All you have done is make their ratings go up.”
And of course you have a long list of mostly righties who claim that Barack is out to force the news medium into being a Goebbels like, only pro-Barack, press, and start an enemies list with FOX at the top. If that was even possible; under the command of Decider-in-Chief George W. Bush, the military blowing holes in the hotel where the press was staying during the start of the war on “terra” certainly qualified. Seems the news to start wasn’t all positive.
Start calling me when the shells hit the headquarters or hotel of just FOX.
But I’m going to mostly ignore the last ones for now because they have no proof, no substance, and are willing to spew any lie. In short: yawn. But the other seven are being parroted by people on the left too.
So here we go…
1. Just ignore them. You’re making it worse.
How? Has ignoring them worked? No, when you ignore them the rest of the media starts playing join the FOX in the hunt for more lies to tell as “truth.” Theses lies are used like a bully uses their fists. Example: death panels. Second example: enemies list. Have you ever noticed when a bully takes over a playground kids start following them? Same rules apply.
2. The President has a very powerful position. He shouldn’t delegitimize any news service.
Only the public can make any final decision to “delegitimize” a network, no matter how illegitimate they may be. And the administration has just as much right to their opinion, and stating it, as FOX, Right Wing bobbleheads, and Left bobbleheads. (By the way; it’s obvious that FOX that delegitimizes themselves. The idea that a President can “delegitimize” a network is laughable.)
This, to me, is really a form of “shut the Hell up.” The correct response is, “No.” Or if you wish to be more vehement, “Hell, no.”
3. The best way to deal with bullies is to ignore them.
Good God, when will this old chestnut finally rot into nothingness? I actually heard several left talk show hosts using this. Parents have passed on this horrible advice on to many generations of kids who wind up suffering various beatings from listening to it. I can tell you from personal experience it gets you beaten up more, harder and quicker. Sometimes kids just have to get off their bike and beat back so bullies know they don’t have control any more. And presidents need to defend themselves too.
When will the Left learn they have no protective, turtle-like shell? That they can’t just pull inside and the predatory Right will just go away? The Left really needs to learn how to defend itself.
4. We have freedom of the press. The President shouldn’t interfere with it.
This has to be one of the most inane talking points I have ever heard. Of course we have freedom of the press, just like we have freedom of speech; or we’re supposed to… those those who find such ways to really say “shut up” don’t seem very strong advocates of either.
The president and his administration have as much right to an opinion, and to express it as Glen Beck, O’Rilley, Limbaugh or FOX. The only thing in question here is “truth in advertising,” and if they wish to express their opinions collectively or through a spokesperson, they have that damn right. Period.
How is the President interfering with freedom of the press? Has he attempted to ban FOX, or have their license taken away? The administration has interfered with nothing. They have stated their opinions regarding the legitimacy of FOX being an actual news network. Again, ill-advised or not, they have that right. The public can make up their own minds; to quote a certain network, “You decide.” No, what proponents of this idea want is for FOX to decide and the largest portion possible of the American public to comply. It’s working all too well.
But I still type: they can call themselves whatever they want. Doesn’t mean anyone has to accept it. Not even the president and his administration. Please find me the section of the Constitution that say an administration is exempt from our basic freedoms like free speech. Take as long as you want, but don’t expect me to pay your burial expenses when they find your corpse still looking at the Constitution.
5. They’re declaring war on a network.
One single friggin water pistol?
Of course not, though from time to time I’d enjoy a spokesperson from any of the various administrations over the years pulling out a super soaker. I don’t think I’d cry much as they soak a few “reporters” who ask the same damn question over, and over, and over, and…
But if we’re referring to a metaphorical war, which is pretty obvious, then the point can be easily made that Rupert Murdoch and his non-news network started the war long ago. Those who push this simply would rather Barack sit back and get assaulted by lies and half truths while a network claims it’s just reporting “news.” If you’re on the other side of the aisle you might claim CBS started it during Watergate and I wouldn’t totally disagree with you.
But once again: talking point translated…
“Shut the Hell up! Only we have the right.”
Correct response? Well, let’s just say a certain “bomb” that starts with the sixth letter in the alphabet, and “you” comes to mind; probably followed by things unprintable one can do with various body parts. But I don’t speak for the President, and after typing that last sentence I’m sure the administration would sigh in relief.
If we’re really going to talk “war,” where were those who use this phrase when; after a few unfavorable reports, the military shelled where the reporters were staying? Did they even complain on smidge when Helen Thomas was shoved to the back of the press room bus and ignored because she asked inconvenient questions? Did they complain much when Daniel Ellsberg was pursued, or the FBI investigated reporters who reported less than pro-Nam news, that actually was news? Not made up like “death panels” or Barack’s “enemies list?”
No, I’ll bet most of them didn’t. But the point is: if there is a war, seems it started long before the current complainers started moaning and retching over this FOX issue.
6. It’s not smart to go after a popular network.
Just the opposite. If a popular network calls a program “news,” but is deceiving the public, it would be stupid and dangerous not to point it out. Once more this is, “Shut the hell up,” with the added, “stop telling the truth.” They’ve just taken that “talking point” from their obnoxious pantheon of talking heads and exported it over a program mislabeled as “news.”
Here come those Liberals who think they’re turtles again. No wonder FOX keeps making turtle soup out of pure nothing. Liberals keep offering themselves up as the main ingredient.
7. All you have done is made their ratings go up.
Of course you will make their ratings go up amongst their base. So what? Ignoring them won’t make it go down. This kind of argument is sheer nonsense. Just ignore the man pounding on the podium talking about more living room for Germans. That worked, right? Even Chamberlain didn’t suggest that. I’m sure when Roosevelt went to war Hitler’s standing amongst his base went up. When Bill Clinton went after George the Senior I’m sure George Senior’s base rallied. When the Right went after Bill, we rallied.
“But Ken! Look at what happened to them!”
Yes, they were “marginalized” so much they got the both the Senate and the House. They succeeded in keeping the focus off of bin Laden. Remember the “aspirin factory?” Never guess who they were trying to get. Then they successfully impeached a president… success being defined by doing it, not conviction. Then they got the Supreme Court to hand over the presidency. They “failed” so much they have damn near everyone, including the Left, buying into “Clinton lied under oath,” even though the question in question was answered correctly, “Is there a relationship…” Phrased in the present tense.
Damn it all to Hell. I wish I had that “lack of success” in my life.
Going after popular people, parties and entertainers works. Not going after them does nothing but enable them. If going after them didn’t work Dems would have stayed in power and Michael Jackson really would have been the most popular entertainer in recent history for most of his life. The media would have ignored his excesses and eccentricities.
Let’s be honest. Demonizing, lying and creating fake lead news stories about people works. Bad press, accurate or not, works. And maybe that’s the point. The Right Wing noise machine via FOX puts out yet another lie that it doesn’t work, and talking heads on the left; with more empty in their heads than brains, go, “Yup, yup, yup, yup…”
Where did these media types/talking heads on the left get their communications/mass media/journalism credentials from, Media R Us U? Wassamatta U.? Or maybe the media defend FOX because they’re jealous. They want their own slice of the lie pie.
Want short term, but meaningless, results? Ignore them. Their ratings may not go up quite as much in the short run. But they will shoot even higher in the long run. It’s called “culling an audience.”
The more input we have from all fronts; yes that includes the administration, the better. Letting FOX have their BS image without the administration challenging helps the public decide they are legit. Why should Barack let that standard; more like lack of a standard, stand?
He shouldn’t. Expressing the opposite opinion and then letting the public decide between the two is not only wise, but his duty.
In college I was a Communications/Mass Media major; with a heavy dose of Journalism. I studied the media, how lies were propagated during the last round of yellow journalism. And we studied the move to objective journalism; true journalism and news reporting… the kind where there is at least a modicum of ethics. Objectivity is an effort: a goal, never fully achieved. But a worthy one for a true journalist and, specifically: news professionals.
I am less troubled by talking head opinion pushers. While I deeply disagree with the Becks and the Limbaughs; disturbed by their antics, they are labeled as opinion. I would never claim that the more left leaning news media in general has been pure or as objective as it should be, or should have been. And I have always been able to listen to news that seems more left or right skewed: no problem.
I consider what FOX calls “news” un-watchable. It is in a category all it’s own: pure propaganda. I stopped listening to FOX when they first went national because I heard one national anchor turn to the other and say, about Bill Clinton, “He really is an asshole, isn’t he?” The response, with a smirk, was, “Why, yes, he is.” The use of the profanity alone at that time should have meant sanctions by the FCC and the anchors being fired in a quite public fashion.
Off and on, when I happen to be somewhere where FOX blather is on 24/7, it takes practically zero seconds to hear some, often obscene, ad hominem spewed; some pure fiction pushed as “news.” Last Sunday, as I typed my first rough draft of this edition of Inspection, I had the Sirius POTUS stream on. They went to FOX news in the afternoon. The first thing: first “‘news’ story,” was, “Now let’s hear more about Barack Obama’s enemies list.” I shut it off. Why? Because back when Nixon had an enemies list the claim wasn’t made there actually was an actual enemies list until a bloody, honest to God, real solid, enemies list was discovered. At best I heard, “There are rumors of…” but then they went on to real news. Such rumors may have been mentioned briefly, but they certainly weren’t the first story.
A Senator claiming that there may be, there’s a possibility of, an enemies list isn’t “news.” If mentioned briefly as rumor I have less concern, professionally. Worthy of big, all important, news seg? Hell, no. Goebbels must be beaming in Hell with pride at the tactics of his intellectual progeny.
So people wonder why some consider FOX not “news,” but pure propaganda?
No. FOX brought this on themselves. Scuse me if I shed no tears and cheer on the administration when they beat back. I just wish they’d beat a little harder.
Still not convinced? Here’s an expose chock full of links that show how FOX in no way is news. If you’re on the Right and love FOX I dare you to go there and click on them. But you won’t will you? And why is it that those who represent the loudest, toughest talking, partisan skew in our country are usually sissies and cowards? http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/24599
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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